Desmond Lindsay Goes To School At The Arizona Fall League
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—The Arizona Fall League has always been referred to as MLB's finishing school for its better prospects. The “school” part of that reputation is being taken even more seriously this fall by Scottsdale Scorpions outfielder Desmond Lindsay.
As a taxi squad member on the Scorpions roster, Lindsay is typically available to only play twice a week, but the New York Mets farmhand isn’t even getting that much game action. Heading into the sixth and final week of the Fall League season, Lindsay has played in only six games, with his last appearance way back on Nov. 1st.
Lindsay has certainly performed well in his limited time on the field, homering twice in his first game and again later in the season, posting a .348/.375/.783 slash line in just 24 plate appearances. But the lack of game action isn’t keeping the Florida native, drafted by the Mets in the second round of the 2015 draft, from learning a lot of valuable lessons in his own version of a finishing school. He’s been like a sponge in soaking up every bit of information he can from his AFL coaches and teammates.
“It’s a lot of fun for me, and I’m able to get a little more work in with not playing every day,” Lindsay said.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to pick guys’ brains, not only about hitting but defensively, too. I just make sure that I talk to everybody and kind of pick up on little things here and there because these guys have been playing for a couple more year than I have.”
Improving his swing has been a priority for Lindsay, stating that he is working on getting his lower half and upper half working together. But it’s not as simple as just making that change, with Lindsay adding, “I’ve been working on a lot of stuff, so we’d be here for a couple of hours if we talked about everything.”
Lindsay’s swing improvement has also been a priority of the Mets organization, and the chance to continue working on his swing is one of the reasons they have him in Arizona right now even if he’s not playing in many games.
“He came in here and just refined a few things,” said Scorpions hitting coach Ryan Ellis, a hitting performance coordinator with the Mets during the rest of the year. “He’s really taken a liking to it. It’s conducive to his swing … he’s on the fastball, he’s using his legs a lot more efficiently, and his bat plane is a lot flatter. It’s working out pretty good.”
Lindsay has also gotten plenty of extra work in the outfield, a position he started playing after joining the Mets organization. He said that the hardest part of converting from his natural infield position was getting the consistency he needed, but he believes he’s getting there and that his time in the Fall League will help him even more.
“Just being here and being out with five or six other outfielders from a bunch of different organizations,” Lindsay said, “just talking to them about how they get reads in the outfield and little things they look for … it’s been a good learning experience.”
Ellis agrees with the progress that Lindsay has made just over the past year.
“He’s a lot more refined than he was even two months ago,” Ellis said. “He’s always working on jumps, always working on different positions, too. We threw him out in left field here and it was the first time for him playing (there). I think it’s great for him seeing a different read off the bat and continuing that versatility.”
Another change that Lindsay has made since high school is to quit wearing contact lenses and instead using eyeglasses, making the switch primarily because he didn’t like the way his eyes felt. Going to glasses also eliminated the occasional problem that he would have in losing a contact on the field.
Lindsay has also dealt with injuries not just in his pro career but also dating back to his high school days. But again, he takes advantage of every injury by turning it into a learning experience.
“Learning different ways to take care of my body,” Lindsay answered when asked how he deals with the injuries.
“I’ve gone through a lot of physical therapy, so I feel like I’m a physical therapist for myself at this point. I know my body a lot better. I know little things that I can feel … I (know when I) need to go in the gym to work on a specific thing or a specific exercise. It’s definitely gotten me more in tune with my body.”
That knowledge of how to take care of himself extends to what he puts in his body, with the most important bullet point to always drink plenty of fluids to keep from getting dehydrated. Lindsay said he always carries a gallon jug with him to make sure he gets plenty to drink each day.
With just one more week of Fall League remaining, Lindsay is looking forward to going home to Florida to get back to his other passion—fishing. While at home he’s often out on the boat doing some in-shore fishing and just hanging out.
But it’s pretty certain that he’ll never stray too far away from the nearest batting cage so that he can keep working on improving his swing. He’ll likely still have that gallon jug with him to keep himself hydrated.
The annual Arizona Fall League championship game will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17th beginning at 3:08 p.m. EST between the East and West division champions. The game will be televised live on the MLB Network. The Peoria Javelinas have already clinched the West crown, while the Salt River Rafters hold a slim 1.5-game lead over the Mesa Solar Sox with four games remaining.
The Rafters missed the opportunity to wrap up the division by losing two straight games to Mesa to end the week, with one game being decided in the bottom of the ninth inning when the Solar Sox scored the winning run on a walk-off groundball that Salt River second baseman Bryson Brigman lost in the bright late afternoon sun.